Syllabus: Introduction to Earth Sciences

Subject name

Introduction to Earth Sciences





Main language



The atmosphere and the hydrosphere of the earth as a physical climate system

Course Purpose and Description

Earth sciences cover the domain from space to the earth's interior. This course focuses on phenomena occurring in the climate system, including the atmosphere, ocean, and land surface, layers of several tens of kilometers around the earth's surface (sea surface and ground surface). The phenomena that occur in space and the earth's interior are considered as external factors that affect the climate system.

The mechanism that affects the global climate can be understood based on the principle of energy conservation. Important factors that change the energy balance of the atmosphere and hydrosphere are solar variation, greenhouse gases, and the fraction of sunlight the earth reflects. Change in the earthʼs climate in the past and near future will be studied from this perspective. In addition to lectures, calculation and visualization with personal computers will be assigned during classes.

Learning Objectives

To understand earth science using the concepts of physics and chemistry, focusing on the theme of climate change.


Instructional Methods

The outline of the class and reading materials (other than the textbook) will be posted on the Web. Web materials will be updated as needed. The materials and figures in the textbook will be referenced in class. To understand relationship between physical quantities, calculations will be conducted to examine how change in one variable can affect other variables. Students are required to complete exercises and submit short reports, to become familiar with handling numerical values with the dimensions of physical quantities and units.

Self-study before/after classes

Teaching materials will be posted on the Web and updated after class with additional explanations not covered in the class. Students are advised to read them before the next class and proactively ask questions. A short report must be submitted, even if incomplete. The use of computers will be demonstrated, but there is no time to provide on-the-spot instruction. Students should master computer usage by working together with other students, based on the materials. No books other than the textbooks are assigned. Books may be introduced in the class; students are encouraged to read them.

Methods of Evaluation and Grading Criteria

Final exam (60%), short reports (40%; 4 reports 10% each).


There are no prerequisites. However, knowledge of high school level mathematics, physics, and chemistry may be beneficial. Items of background knowledge to be used include basic statistics; exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions; calculus; two- and three-dimensional coordinates; forces and motion; heat and temperature; ideal gas equations; etc. Information literacy may be required to read Web materials, handle data files, and write reports.


Hamajima Shoten, "Shin Chigaku Zuhyo (Earth Science Illustrations, New Edition)". ISBN 978-4-8343-4012-9. (This is a reference for high school students. It is used during the classes to look at diagrams and photos. Note that documentation of information sources in this book is insufficient for university-level learning. It is planned (though not decided yet) that students may be use this book during the examination as well.

Reference Materials

References and recommended books for those who hope to study more will be introduced on the class website.

Related Study Fields and Courses

“Introduction to Geosciences (Including Experiments)” (Masuda's class of that course covers broader scope than this course.)

URL (in Japanese)

MASUDA Kooiti (増田 耕一)
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